Eugene Oh wrote at 2007-01-21 10:56:39 (+0800) > In writing the reply to Leon's questions about Pinyin, I used the word > "Beijing", which made me curious as to how people habitually pronounce > the names of foreign places when speaking in a certain language. > > E.g. "Beijing" in English -- upon encountering this word, do you > > 1. Attempt to pronounce it as close to the native as possible > 2. Use English rules of pronunciation to read it [beIdZIN] Do you mean apply English rules of pronunciation to the _spelling_, or conform the phones/phonemes of the native pronunciation to similar values found in English? > 3. Pronounce it Englishly, butwith some exoticisation [beIZIN] Is that a good example? No-one's likely to *deliberately* choose a form, like [beIZIN], that's less like the native pronunciation than the natural English one would be. > 4. Pronounce it otherwise? > > Ditto for "Paris", "Seoul", "Kagoshima", "Iraq", "Madrid", "Havana", > "São Paulo" etc. > > Using Beijing as an example, I find that for me, rule 1 kicks in > when speaking to other people who know Chinese; rule 2 when reading > a passage, or when speaking in a decidedly English-only environment > (such as with people of a multitude of races in the conversation); > and rule 3 never. > > The curious thing is, the above pattern does not happen to, e.g. > "Paris", which I always pronounce as per the French, "Madrid", > which is always missing the final -d for me, Why do you drop the -d? Are there Spanish dialects where that's the case? The standard is [ma'D4iD]. > Japanese place names, always as the Japanese would, or any other > "prestige" languages/places like Arabic or German; whereas the > pattern applies to Seoul, to Havana, to many Eastern European place > names and so on. > > Subconscious cultural uppity-ness? > > Eugene I suppose my general rule is; in my head* try to get it as close as possible to the native pronunciation. Talking to someone else, try to get as close to the native pronunciation while remaining within the phonology of English. Or somewhere in-between those, depending to factors such as how important some distinction feels to me, how much it's going to stand out as weird in an English utterance**, and the expected attitude of my interlocutor. Unless, of course, there's a well-known English name for a place, in which case I'd generally use that. Even if you have some set of principles, there will always be tricky edge-cases, since neither "native pronunciation" or "well-known English name" is always a simple concept. * Or more accurately subvocalizing, as I find it difficult to "say" unfamiliar phonemes in my mind without articulating them. **This particularly in terms of prosodic factors, where I'd likely go for a somewhat more English-sounding pronunciation even though a more authentic one wouldn't be particularly difficult for an English speaker to pronounce.